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1 September 2005

MSP Welcomes Launch of North East Prisons' Consultation

"Vindication of Campaign to Save Peterhead Prison" says Stevenson

With the publication today [Thursday] of the terms of the Scottish Prison Service consultation on the future of prisons at Aberdeen and Peterhead, Shadow Prisons Minister and MSP for Banff and Buchan, Stewart Stevenson has commented on the options described.

"I am pleased to see that the prison service has formally recognised the outstanding contribution made to public safety by Peterhead Prison staff and the strong community support for their efforts.

"Looking after some of Scotland's most serious sex offenders and preparing them for a life after prison free from further offending is the challenge staff face every day. Their achievements have won international recognition.

"With the opportunity to develop their work in a new prison, fit for purpose and efficient, the long term future is taking a substantial step forward to being assured with the launch of this consultation."

Speaking on the options in the SPS document, Stevenson said,

"The SPS have recognised that any option less than replacement of Peterhead's original 1888 building is simply not on.

"With Parliament ruling out closure in 2002 after a sustained, community-wide campaign led by prison officers' partners, the choices now offered both involve a new build prison at or near Peterhead.

"Redevelopment of our prison, coupled the co-location of Aberdeen, on the existing Peterhead site is the obvious option (Option 4). I trust that Aberdeenshire Council will at today's meeting start to examine the ways in which this can be made the more attractive option for the SPS.

"Nonetheless we should not yet rule out a new build on a green field site at Peterhead (Option 5).

"It is the time for 'keeping the heid' and delivering the new prison and the economic benefits it will secure for our community"
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Stewart Stevenson
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